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What’s Important in a Lot?

Paranoid Dad thoughts for what is important in a lot, once we’ve narrowed it down to Clarkston.

  1. Proximity to highways:  Multiple studies show that there’s elevated risk of lung diseases for kids that grow up within 400 feet of a highway.  I chose to stay at least 1 mile away from a highway.  Plus, that really keeps the road  noise down.
  2. Power lines:  There’s a major set of power lines that run through Clarkston.  We’ve all seen the TV reports hinting at the risk of cancer if you live close to power lines.  For the health reasons as well as the resale value reasons, we chose to avoid them.
  3. Dirt Road/Paved Road:  One big deciding factor for us was that we did not want to live on a dirt road.  I wanted a paved driveway off of a paved road.  That is a really good way to limit your real-estate searches.
  4. Lot Size:  should be big enough, but does not have to be huge.   Too large just leads to extra yard work/maintenance/cost.  Our old lot in Waterford was about 1/4 acre, and we wanted a little bigger.  We decided to look at lots  between 1/2 acre and 3 acres.
  5. Lot features:  A walk-out basement was a must on our list.  Good drainage also (no wet basements!).  Lakefront or Lake access would be nice, but 1/2 acre on any decent lake was way out of our budget.

We ended up looking at quite a few existing houses and a few new construction possibilities.  We ended up falling in love with one lot/neighborhood.  Here it is:  our gently sloping walk-out lot.  It’s close to 3/4 of an acre, but has 10 acres of shared common space behind it!  This will be the view from the back of our new home.

Location, Location, Location

During this first year of Emma’s life, we’re going to try to describe our decision-making process for the new house, as well as keep the world up-to-date on Emma’s progress.  Emma & the house are 2 of the biggest things going on  in our life, so they’ll likely be the 2 biggest topics this year on the Blog. 🙂

First off in our new house search:  location.  Emma (and her eventual school) is what got us started looking at new houses.  We were in an OK school district before (Waterford) but knew we wanted better for her if we could afford it.  Also, we wanted to limit commutes to 30 minutes.  That left Clarkston, Rochester, Troy, and the Bloomfields as our options.  We chose Clarkston because we preferred the feel of living on the outskirts of the metro area.  Not really the country, but it’s REALLY not the city.  It’s a good mix of easy access and open areas.


Next choice:  Which lot/neighborhood to choose in Clarkston?  And what’s important in location for a forever home?  Hint:  The map above shows some of the areas we wanted to avoid.

Basic things we chose to avoid:

  • I-75.  I didn’t want to live close to the highway for noise & air pollution reasons
  • DTE:  Traffic & noise during the summer.
  • Waterford Hills:  Noise during the summer

We ended up finding a great location north of I-75 that met all of our criteria.  It’s out of the city, but plenty close to highway access when we want it.

November Updates

It has been a very busy 6 months!  Emma was born in April, and you would not believe how much it changed my way of thinking.  There’s something that happens to a dad when he holds his daughter for the first time.  It’s hard to describe, but a new sense of protection kicks in.

Before Emma was born, our plan was to stay in the Waterford house for 3-5 years, then move to a house in a better school district.  After she was born, I immediately began re-thinking that, and ultimately decided we needed to move in 2014.

Let’s recap how things went after Emma arrived:
April – Emma is born
May – Contacted our realtor to look at listings and see what might be available to buy.  The real-estate market looked the healthiest it has since 2007, so we decided to list our house for sale.  This started the mad dash to get the house ready to sell. (keep in mind, we have a newborn baby to take care of, too.)
June – Continued work on the house.  Paint, counters, flooring… you name it.  We crammed 3 years worth of renovations into 8 weeks.
July – Finally listed the house for sale mid-July!  We were lucky, we didn’t miss the summer selling season.  We got accepted an offer on the house towards the end of the month, and started packing (ugh!)
We still haven’t found a great house to buy ourselves, so we start leaning towards new construction.  We had already found a great lot in a new subdivision, and it’s looking even better  now!
August – Decision Time:  we closed the deal for a new construction on the lot we loved.  Now comes the drudgery:  pack, move, repeat.  As it turns out, we have a TON of stuff.  Thanks to all the friends and family that helped us get this move completed.  We closed the sale on the Waterford house at the end of the month and were finally out of there.  Now we just have to wait 12 months for our new house to get built.